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Energy Technology Blog August 3, 2010

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This site is moving.  I’ve purchased a separate blog site and migrated all the old posts.  I’ve started adding new ones as well.

This week I’ve discussed improvements in battery technology and refining hydrogen from waste cooking oil.  Who know’s what’s next?  At least it will be quality information that will help save the planet, and maybe help you find a new business.

Come see me at www.GreenPlanetEnergy.info – information for a greener planet!

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New Nuclear Design Opens Options March 16, 2009

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Promising new options for nuclear power production, Intellectual Ventures of Bellview, Washington has described how traveling wave technology could use waste uranium from older reactors to generate power.

Current technology requires specialized technology to refine the common uranium-238 into uranium-235, which splits more easily. But the -235 slows down its rapid energy decay in just 18-24 months, requiring the reactor to be shut down and the rods replaced. The spent rods become hazardous waste that could be reprocessed into bomb-grade uranium.

Intellectual Ventures has described a method to use only a small amount of -235 as a catalyst to create a slow-moving wave through the uranium-238, moving at only a centimeter year. In theory, the reactor could run for decades without refueling.

Among the technical challenges are the cooling methods. This design runs so hot it needs liquid sodium to carry the heat away to the generators. The traveling wave generator would run at about 550ºC; today’s reactors run at 330ºC.

We’re still some time away from producing a commercial traveling wave plant, but this technology has promise. New energy from hazardous waste is win-win.

source: Technology Review

see also Intellectual Ventures

Quiet Wind Turbine Released November 10, 2008

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One of the problems  with locating wind turbines in urban areas is that they tend to be noisy.  The constant whipping the air is a disturbance to close neighbors. Cascade Engineering has introduced a version of the house turbine designed to minimize noise without disturbing neighbors. Looking a little like a new-age whirlygig, the SWIFT turbine cuts the noise level to 35 decibels while reducing vibrations.

The company says the turbine can generate 1.5 KW with 14 mile per hour winds and approximately 2,000 KWh each year. The unit costs $10,000 (less than the average per-watt cost of solar panels). Depending on the cost of installation, conventional electricity costs, wind speeds, and incentives, the SWIFT could pay for itself in as little as three years.

Note:  this unit is currently only available in the Northeast US, Great Lakes States, and Western Canada.

For more information, click here.

Energy Independence February 19, 2008

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Even if the world does have enough oil to survive the next 3 decades, the developing world is consuming faster than the developed Western world.  The recent doubling in price is also taking a huge hit on the US economy.  We need to find alternatives.

This site is all about those alternatives.  We’ll talk policy and technology.  Some of you will teach me more than I knew to ask.  Together we can inform our leaders.